Yahel is a social entrepreneur who works at the intersection of wireless networks, freedom enhancing technologies, and social development. In 1984, while still in high-school, Yahel hacked the computers of a leading daily newspaper to publish a critique of one of his teachers. This episode paved the way for his career as an IT security expert. Over the next 3 decades, Yahel gained diversified hands-on experience in leadership, design, deployment, and research of computer security and networks in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. In 1993 Yahel co-founded the Xpert group, a multinational IT security and network solutions firm. At Xpert he designed and led the technical setup for some of the world’s most advanced networks, managing large scale and complex projects for Fortune 500 companies and governments. Upon the sale of his Xpert group holdings in 1999, Yahel moved to Dharamsala in the Indian Himalayas, the headquarters of the Tibetan community in exile. There he founded the Tibetan Technology Center (TibTec) and later AirJaldi. AirJaldi became an exemplary model for sustainable delivery of affordable broadband Internet services to rural communities, and continues to expand to this day. His work in rural India and other remote and underserved regions established his expertise in Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICTD) as well as in technologies for human rights. In 2009 Yahel joined the Ph.D. program at the department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science of the University of California at Berkeley to advance his ICTD research and work with the Technology and Infrastructure for Emerging Regions (TIER) research group. As President of De Novo Group Yahel manages multi-million dollar projects which bring together world-renowned ICTD researchers and practitioners dedicated to bridging the digital divide and harnessing technology to increase civil liberties.
Yahel is passionate about connecting the next billion people to the Internet, while ensuring it remains uncensored and free.
Eric A. Brewer – Co-Founder, Chairman of the Board
Eric leads the Technology and Infrastructure for Emerging Regions group (TIER) at Berkeley. Dr. Brewer focuses on all aspects of Internet-based systems, including technology, strategy, and government. As a researcher, he has led projects on scalable servers, search engines, network infrastructure, sensor networks, and security. His current focus is (high) technology for developing regions, with projects in India, Ghana, and Uganda among others, and including communications, health care, education, and e-government. In 1996, he co-founded Inktomi Corporation with a Berkeley grad student based on their research prototype, and helped lead it onto the NASDAQ 100 before it was bought by Yahoo! in March 2003. In 2000, he founded the Federal Search Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization focused on improving consumer access to government information. Working with President Clinton, Dr. Brewer helped to create USA.gov, the official portal of the Federal government, which launched in September 2000. He was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering for leading the development of scalable servers (early cloud computing), and also received the ACM Mark Weiser award for 2009. He received an MS and Ph.D. in EECS from the MIT, and a BS in EECS from UC Berkeley. He was named a “Global Leader for Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum, by the Industry Standard as the “most influential person on the architecture of the Internet”, by InfoWorld as one of their top ten innovators, by Technology Review as one of the top 100 most influential people for the 21st century (the “TR100″), and by Forbes as one of their 12 “e-mavericks”, for which he appeared on the cover.
Barath Raghavan – Vice President
Barath is a computer scientist with deep and varied research and development experience. His areas of expertise include networking and network architectures, security and applied cryptography, distributed systems, and sustainable computing. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from UC San Diego in 2009 and his B.S. in EECS from UC Berkeley in 2002. He received the 2007 ACM SIGCOMM paper award and a 2004 NSF graduate research fellowship among other research accolades. He developed the popular open-source software icecast, which is in most Linux distributions, and has built several other open source tools and systems. Before joining De Novo Group, he worked at Google on Software Defined Networking. Previously he was a senior researcher in the networking group at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, CA and consulted for Counterpane Internet Security. He will lead research and development for De Novo Group.
Ron Steinherz – Chief Operations Officer
Ron is a seasoned product manager with over 12 years of experience in the fields of product delivery, strategy, general management, business development and software engineering. He received his MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and his BSc in Telecommunications Engineering from Ben-Gurion University, Israel. Prior to joining the De Novo Group, he worked at Cisco Systems where he led product management for mobile collaboration applications. An avid traveler, he has backpacked in over 30 countries including hiking the pilgrimage of St. James of in Northern Spain. He has a strong social impact drive, volunteering over the years in several non-profit organizations, and is excited about empowering disenfranchised communities as part of his work at De Novo Group. He will be leading business development, strategy and project management for De Novo Group.
AnnaLee Saxenian - Board of Directors
AnnaLee is Dean and Professor in the School of Information and professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley. Her most recent book, The New Argonauts: Regional Advantage in the Global Economy (Harvard University Press, 2006), explores how the “brain circulation” by immigrant engineers from Silicon Valley has transferred technology entrepreneurship to emerging regions in China, India, Taiwan, and Israel.
Her prior publications include Regional Advantage: Culture and Competition in Silicon Valley and Route 128 (Harvard University Press, 1994), Silicon Valley’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs (PPIC, 1999), and Local and Global Networks of Immigrant Professionals in Silicon Valley (PPIC, 2002). Saxenian holds a Doctorate in Political Science from MIT, a Master’s in Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BA in Economics from Williams College.
Monte S. Meyers (Shining Star Consulting) – Associate CFO
Monte S. Meyers, MBA, CMA, has over 28 years of experience in the fields of accounting, strategic planning, budgets, financial systems and processes, and financial reporting. He founded Shining Star Consulting in 2006 to help nonprofit organizations improve their financials systems and processes, pass audits, create effective budgets, develop clear policies, create financial reports and provide needed and necessary financial analyses. Monte attended UC Berkeley, earning undergraduate degrees in Economic Geography and French. He earned his MBA at St. Mary’s College of California, and is a Certified Management Accountant. An avid outdoor enthusiast, Monte has served on the Board of Directors of NatureBridge-Yosemite for 13 years, and on the audit and finance committees of the parent organization, NatureBridge. He is the treasurer of Balanced Rock Foundation, and served for six years as Chair of the Backpacking Section of the Sierra Club’s Inner City Outings program in the SF Bay Chapter. For pure enjoyment, Monte sings Tenor with the UC Alumni Chorus.
Rabin Patra – Co-Founder, Secretary
Rabin Patra is currently a co-founder at Tarana Wireless, a startup that builds smart antenna based wireless radio technology that enables highly spectrally efficient and scalable backhaul networks. Rabin received a PhD in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley. During his PhD work with the TIER research group, Rabin developed low cost long distance wireless technologies. He also worked with Aravind Eye Hospitals in Tamil Nadu (India) to put this technology into practice by deploying a rural telemedicine network hat has enabled 90,000 remote video consultations till date. Rabin believes that novel communication technologies, and especially wireless, can be very effective in aiding and amplifying efforts to further socio-economic development and democratic discourse around the world.
Anant Sahai – Research Coordinator
Anant is an Associate professor of EECS at Berkeley, in the Wireless Foundations Center. He did his undergraduate work in EECS at UC Berkeley from 1990-1994. From 1994-2000 he was a graduate student at MIT studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6 in MIT-speak) and was based in the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems. In 2001 he was on the theoretical/algorithmic side of a team at the startup Enuvis, Inc. developing new adaptive software radio techniques for GPS in very low SNR environments (such as those encountered indoors in urban areas). He joined the Berkeley faculty in 2002. He currently serves also as faculty adviser to UC Berkeley’s chapter of Eta Kappa Nu. He has previously served as the Treasurer for the IEEE Information Theory Society. (’07-’09 inclusive) His research interests span information theory, decentralized control, and wireless communication — with a particular interest at the intersections of these fields. Within wireless communication, he is particularly interested in Spectrum Sharing and Cognitive Radio.
Giulia Fanti – Anonymity and Privacy Researcher
Giulia received her B.S. from Olin College of Engineering and her M.S. from UC-Berkeley in electrical engineering and computer science. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at UC Berkeley. Her interests include privacy-preserving signal processing and communication.
Shaddi Hasan – Networks Researcher